How to Upgrade Your Starbucks Holiday Drink Order, According to a Barista

By Morgan Nielsen |

Photo by Justin Schuble

This piece originally appeared on Spoon University.

Ever since the red cups launched on November 1st (amidst a lot of controversy regarding their simple red design) we’ve been welcoming our favorites back. But sh*t got real on November 10th, when the full holiday line officially launched, with a new line of tumblers (aka the Dot Collection), and new and returning treats and drinks.

But, if you’re anything like us and have already gotten sick of the standard Peppermint Mocha and Chestnut Praline lattes for the season, look no further. As always, we’ve got your back on how to switch it up at the ‘bucks this holiday season.

Caramel Brulee Latte

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What it is: A thick caramel brulee sauce (and yes, it is caramel brulee, not crème brûlée – a French accent while ordering isn’t necessary), combined with espresso shots and steamed milk, and topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of addicting crunchy caramelized sugar topping.

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#SpoonTip: Try adding the caramel brulee sauce to you regular drip coffee or misto (which is hot coffee topped with steamed milk). Something about the roast-y sweetness of the sauce makes it stand out exceptionally well in plain coffees, which is great if you’re looking to save a few cents or if you don’t want the milky “heaviness” of a latte sitting in your stomach for the next few hours.

Eggnog Latte

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Okay. So I’m pretty sure eggnog is one of those things that you either love or you hate, with no in between. If you belong to the latter, feel free to skip this one. More for the rest of us.

What it is: A latte made with espresso and a mix of fresh eggnog and milk, topped with nutmeg. The ratio of milk to eggnog is about two thirds milk to one third eggnog, but you can always ask for more or less eggnog depending on your flavor/thickness preferences. Just please don’t ask for an eggnog latte made with soy. That’s just stupid. And yes, it’s made with real eggnog, with milk and eggs and all, so if you have an allergy to dairy or eggs, you may just have to sit this one out.

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#SpoonTip: DRINK CHEGGNOG. A Chai tea latte made with eggnog in lieu of the standard 2% is literally heaven in a cup. Once you try it, you will spend the first ten months of the year waiting for it to come back (or adding caramel to your chai, which actually tastes pretty darn close to the real thing). I’m not kidding. Please just go try it for yourself.

Gingerbread Latte

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Ahh, gingerbread. Potentially the epitome of holiday cheer. Warm and spicy, this latte is the grownup version of everyone’s favorite festive cookie.

What it is: A latte mixed with a sweet gingerbread syrup, topped with whipped cream and nutmeg (no gross molasses topping this year).

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#SpoonTip: For a more festive version of the caramel apple spice, ask your barista to use gingerbread syrup instead of the cinnamon dolce for a festive fusion of fall and winter. Happy fallidays.

For more ways to switch up your Starbucks holiday drink, go to Spoon University.

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